THE 2016 NONPROFIT CFO OF THE YEAR
Deborah A. Cowan is Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer at NPR.
She is responsible for overseeing the organization's financial operations, including ensuring the integrity of accounting processes, internal controls, financial reporting, budgeting, forecasting, planning and analysis. In addition to providing effective leadership of the finance and accounting staff, she is responsible for ensuring financial awareness and understanding throughout the organization.
Cowan brings more than 20 years of financial leadership experience in media and business to her role at NPR. Just before joining NPR in 2010, Cowan served as the senior vice president of finance at Radio One, Inc. managing the financial and accounting operations. She was part of the senior leadership team that evolved the financial and operational structure and systems that helped grow the organization (through acquisitions as well as organically) and handled many complex strategic and financial issues.
A certified public accountant, Cowan earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Howard University and a Master of Business Administration in Finance and International Business from Columbia Business School. She is currently a director on the nonprofit boards of Consumer Reports and the National Education Association Foundation, where she chairs the audit committee and serves on the investment committee, and is a former director of the Media Financial Management organization.
About The Event:
Each year the CFO Awards recognize the often unsung leadership role CFOs have in the important works nonprofits do, working generally behind the scene as a key supporter of the executive director, to keep the organization moving forward.
Co-founded in 2006 by Tate & Tryon and West, Lane & Schlager, this annual event recognizes and honors the contributions of nonprofit financial executives who demonstrate a vision for operational excellence, innovation in finance and management, and exceptional leadership and commitment to improving accountability and financial reporting. Over the past two decades the role of the CFO has evolved from simply a number cruncher to a big-picture thinker involved in nearly every facet of the organization including governance, performance and strategic growth. Today, CFOs are increasingly involved in setting operational strategy and serving as a strategic leader and advisor to the CEO and board. But despite this expanding role, the contributions of the CFO are often overlooked and rarely recognized. For this reason, the Nonprofit CFO of the Year awards Luncheon was founded in an effort to:
- Highlight the critical role that CFOs play in ensuring good governance, disclosure and transparency, and a well-managed organization.
- Showcase those CFOs whose practices serve as an example of a high quality finance function that adds value to the overall management of the organization.
- Create a community that allows CFOs to learn from one another and facilitate the sharing of best practices
CFO of Year — awarded to an outstanding CFO, currently making a vital contribution to the leadership of a well recognized nonprofit, as right hand of the executive director and mentor of the team – someone who has impact on the performance of the whole organization and whose stature enables them to serve as an example of all that is best in the nonprofit world.
Rising Star — awarded to an outstanding CFO of a nonprofit 40 or under who has come to play a major leadership role, supporting the executive director, with significant initiatives in the development of their nonprofit.
Transformational Leader — awarded to an outstanding CFO of a nonprofit who has played a major role in the transformation of the operations of their nonprofit- not only in the financial department but also in broader operational areas, such as pioneering a significant major program, developing and implementing a technological breakthrough, or engineering a reorganization or merger.
has been the leading publisher of association news since 1973 and provides senior association executives with essential news, developments and insights to that ensure they stay up-to-date and lead their members.
is a public accounting and consulting firm that specializes in accounting and financial management for nonprofit entities. We offer unparalleled experience and financial solutions through a wide range of accounting, audit & attest, tax preparation, and advisory services. We also provide financial systems consulting through T3 Information Systems, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tate &Tryon. T3 specializes in the Microsoft Dynamics GP (Great Plains) accounting system, as well as business intelligence and planning software that meet the unique needs of the nonprofit community.
is a commercial real estate company that assists office space users and investors in Washington, DC. Specializing in the nonprofit industry, their depth of experience in this marketplace has resulted in cost-effective and operationally efficient solutions for their clients. They build lasting relationships based on their passion for quality, creativity and accountability.
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